Six days ago, the Democrats announced that they were going to sponsor a bill that would fill the gap in healthcare coverage blown by the Hobby Lobby ruling. Yesterday, they announced they were going to vote on it.
Today, the inevitable happened: the Republicans killed the bill.
The motion to advice the bill failed to achieve the 60 votes necessary. The final vote was 56-43 for cloture, and had three Republicans — Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mark Kirk — voting in support of it. Murkowski and Collins have voted with the Democrats in the past, and were among the three Republicans that supported Elizabeth Warren’s bill to help alleviate student loan debt.
ThinkProgress reports on the bill, which was never expected to survive the terrorist-controlled House of Representatives:
The legislation, which has become known as the “Not My Bosses’ Business Act,” would have prevented for-profit businesses from dropping birth control coverage by clarifying that no federal law allows companies to refuse to follow Obamacare’s contraception mandate. It was endorsed by the White House, which released a statement on Wednesday saying that the administration strongly supports the effort to give the women affected by the recent court ruling “the same coverage that everyone else is offered without interference by their employer.”
The measure was never expected to actually become law, since it had little hope of passing the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. But supporters hoped to force lawmakers to go on the record about whether they actually support women’s birth control coverage, particularly as reproductive health is shaping up to be a significant election issue. Three Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) — voted in support of the legislation.
While the death of the bill was predictable, reproductive rights groups expressed disappointment that it didn’t advance in the Senate. Laura W. Murphy, the director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, issued a statement saying, “A small number of senators chose politics over women’s health today by refusing to allow debate on this bill to move forward.”
The feminist group UltraViolet warned that “this isn’t a vote women will forget in November.”
ThinkProgress reports that Republicans are planning their own legislation, and, like most things the GOP does anymore, it looks like it accomplishes something, but it really does nothing:
Republicans are planning to offer their own legislation in response to Hobby Lobby — an effort that’s currently being led by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Deb Fischer (R-NE). According to Republican leadership, the GOP-sponsored bill will state that “no employer can block any employee from legal access to her FDA-approved contraceptives.” However, that wouldn’t actually do anything to change the current reproductive rights landscape. The Hobby Lobby case wasn’t about the legality of birth control; it related to whether for-profit companies should have the right to drop insurance coverage for contraception, a move that would require women to pay for the full cost of their birth control out of pocket.
The Senate leadership might try again, and attempt to gain the necessary votes for their bill. Meanwhile, Harry Reid entered a motion to reconsider the cloture vote at a later time.
For the rest of us, this comes as no surprise; this bill was pretty much DOA from the start. Still, it’s just one more thing the Democrats can use to hammer the Republican theocrats in the upcoming election.